Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Movie Review

I don't heart Huckabees.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:13 PM | |

Letter to the Editor

Well glory oskie, you just can't make this stuff up; nobody would ever believe it.

Check this out.

WHAT? You mean it's all a LIE? I didn't think they could print it if it wasn't TRUUUUUE.

Oh wait. "Fiction." That might be a clue.

Excuse me now while I go to the kitchen and die laughing.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:23 AM | |

Monday, May 29, 2006

Odds and Ends.

My $1.99 Big Lots rosebush is more beautiful every year. No expensive nursery-bred rosebush could possibly be any prettier.

Are you all sure you don't want a kitten? LOOK how sweet and lovey they are!!!

Noooooo, Charley Gordon isn't jealous! He loves to share his CheapoChunks with the masses.

Seriously, could YOU resist that face?

Oh, and remember THIS? My middle school students showed it to me first, a few years ago, and then it was all over the internet, and then it was taken down for copyright infringement, and now it's all over the internet again. Including right here. So, so cute.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:08 PM | |



PEACE will come when people live
In friendship, side by side,
And cherish understanding
More than hatred, greed and pride.

PEACE will come when people see
All people as the same,
And no one has to live in fear,
In ignorance, or shame.

PEACE will come when people
Who are needy can reach out
For shelter, food, or love,
And no has to do without.

PEACE will come when people
Learn to listen and to care
About the rights and dignity
Of people everywhere.

PEACE will come when love and trust
And kindness know rebirth,
And on that day all people
Will rejoice in peace on earth.

-- Amanda Bradley


I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?

How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, Freedom is not free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!!
--Kelly Strong
(Yes, I am aware that as Literature, these poems aren't all that. But the sentiment they contain hit me in a good place today, so I am posting them anyway.)
(We're leaving in a few minutes to take my MIL down to French Lick to the cemetary. I haven't seen the town since it was decimated and remade in the image of the Casinos, so I might be disoriented when we get back. And that's different. . . . how?)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:29 AM | |

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Another K-Mart Adventure

The "Gulf War Song," by the way, was written during the first Gulf War back in the nineties. It was the first Moxy Fruvous song I ever heard, and is responsible for my long love affair with all four band members. So to speak. (Unfortunately) (Oh, I didn't really say that!) (Yes I did.) (Be still, my heart.)

I was in K-Mart the other day (not WalMart!!!!!!!!!!!) and I ran into a former student. I hadn't seen him for six years; that would make him around twenty years old now.

He's home from Iraq for a few weeks, and then he's going back.

He was one of those kids who had it rough: broken and dysfunctional home, raggedy clothes, shallow roots, scary brother, shiftless mom, no dad. . . . They moved a lot to follow those benefits around the counties. He was desperate for attention. Desperate.

His mother was so shiftless and worthless that most of the time she never made it into the school office to fill out the papers for free lunch for her kids. They qualified, but without the paperwork the school couldn't legally let them have it. And our cooks sure weren't about to let a single chicken nugget out the door without the cash.

(A child once had a diabetic reaction in my classroom and I sent another student running to the cafeteria for a cookie. The kid returned, white-faced, followed by the head cook, who demanded immediate payment for the cookie. I gave her fifty cents and she stomped back to the kitchen, satisfied. Imagine.)

The middle school teachers usually arranged for this boy to have lunch. I don't know what his scary brother on the elementary floor did for lunch.

One Monday he asked to use my stapler. He took it and began stapling the tops of his sneakers to the rubber soles. He did this every period for a week. These were his only shoes.

In my classroom's lost-and-found was a pair of nearly-new sneakers, left there before Christmas vacation by a wealthy student who hadn't even missed them.

That Friday, I gave those sneakers to the boy with the stapled sneakers. I marked them up a bit so the original owner wouldn't recognize them.

They were a little big, but that left some room to grow.

Later that same year, I gave him my cd player/radio; the cd part hadn't worked for a long time and I had mentioned throwing it away. He came in at noon and asked if he could please have it.

He fixed the cd player and for all I know, he's still using it.

But ahem.

He told me that, at age twenty, he had three kids and a soon-to-be ex-wife. And a fiancee who worked back in Automotives. He'd come home to finalize his divorce and to buy the fiancee a new truck.

He gave me his military address and asked me to send him a card. He told me he had nobody who ever wrote; his kids were too little and his ex hated him too much and his fiancee was too illiterate.

I paid for my new surge protector and left the store more than a little downhearted. I'd hoped for so much better for this boy.

And then I remembered the life he'd had as a kid, and I brightened up a tiny little bit. Just a tiny, tiny little bit.

Shoddy as it is, the life he has now is still better than the life he had as a kid at home. Sigh. What a sad commentary.

I wonder how many generations it will take before these people are not dysfunctional by most standards.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:32 PM | |

Comparison Shopping

This town has a WalMart and a K-mart. 
The WalMart is always packed to the gills, with screaming undisciplined (boooo, the worst kind!) children running rampant, and old people blocking the skinny aisles with their conversations, two cashiers to serve four hundred customers, and always the smell of burnt popcorn from the snack bar, and cigarette smoke wafting in from the lobby, where smoking is allowed and through which people have to walk to get to the actual front doors.  Oh, and all those machines and hobby-horses for kids are out in the smoky lobby, too.  Nice, huh.
The K-mart is usually borderline-deserted.  It always smells clean, the aisles are wide and swept, there are always enough cashiers, the prices are pretty much the same and often lower,  and there are several really good clothing stores and two great Chinese restaurants: one in the same complex and one across the street.
Why don't more people go to the K-mart?  Why are they all jam-packed in WalMart?
My husband hates K-mart.  He says he can never find anything.  He would go to WalMart daily if he could.
I hate WalMart.  I always feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream in stinky water.  I have seen people knocked down by wild dirty children, to the point that an ambulance had to be called, in our WalMart.  
The outdoor marquee at K-Mart once broke and fell on a guy and crushed him dead, a few years ago.  I still like K-Mart better.  The possibility of being crushed to death by a sign is a far better fate than being crushed to death by some of the people I've seen in our WalMart.  Don't people bathe before going shopping in public any more?
Martha Stewart spent some jail-time.  I still like her stuff better than Sam's.
When people walk into our WalMart, they somehow feel free to let their kids loose to run wild and screech and knock things (and people) down, and open boxes and sit on the floor in 'Toys" and play with merchandise that is not legally theirs.
When people walk into our K-Mart, they must somehow feel as though they are personally responsible for the behavior of their children, and I've never seen a kid running wild and loose in there.
What gives?
Soon, our WalMart will be no more.  They are building a Super Store in this town, and I can't even imagine what the crowd will be like with more room to hold their relay races and to cluster loaded carts in the middle of an aisle to converse.
It would be nice if the new store would forbid smoking anywhere near the premises but in this town that's probably asking too much.  I mean, without that smoking area, WalMart's clientele would be cut in half.
Although, when I'm in the mood to do some shopping at 3 in the morning, it's nice to have something that's open.  K-Mart closes at ten.  WalMart is open 24/7.
Well, some of it is open 24/7.  You can't buy a watch or jewelry or electronics or fabric or perfume or wallets or cd's or film or dvd's or snacks then, but you can buy toilet paper and Miracle Whip.
Why else would anyone need to run to town at that hour, anyway? 
But except for the occasional toilet paper emergency, give me K-Mart any time.  If those are my only two choices, that is.  In this town, that's pretty much it.
If there was a Target in this town, I'd never go anywhere else.  For toilet paper, etc, that is.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:43 PM | |

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Cappella Goodness

Go on and click the link:

Gulf War Song

We got a call to write a song about the war in the Gulf
But we shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings
So we tried, then gave up, 'cause there was no such song
But the trying was very revealing. . . .

What makes a person so poisonous righteous
That they'd think less of anyone who just disagreed?
She's just a pacifist, he's just a patriot
If I said you were crazy, would you have to fight me?

Fighters for liberty, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight, 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me

So we read and we watched all the specially selected news
And we learned so much more 'bout the good guys
Won't you stand by the flag? Was the question unasked
Won't you join in and fight with the allies?

What could we say...we're only 25 years old?
With 25 sweet summers, and hot fires in the cold
This kind of life makes that violence unthinkable
We'd like to play hockey, have kids and grow old

Fighters for Texaco, fighters for power
Fighters for longer turns in the shower
Don't tell me I can't fight 'cause I'll punch out your lights
And history seems to agree that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

He's just a peacenik and she's just a warhawk
That's where the beach was, that's where the sea
What could we say...we're only 25 years old?
And history seems to agree
that I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we

Is that how it always will be?

--------Moxy Fruvous

Learn this by heart while I'm over at MommaK's, guest-blogging. All four parts. (Please.) You know you want to, and I know you can.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:44 AM | |

Friday, May 26, 2006

Elegance: Yes, I can spell it.

I was reading an article about one's personalized elegance, and it made me wonder if I had any.

I looked around my computer area, where I spend most of my free time these days, and got worried. Other people's worksites seem much more streamlined, sleek and business-like, than mine. Could it be that I had no innate elegance?

I took a closer look at my work area. Above my printer is a statue my son gave me for Christmas a few years ago, flanked by the two semi-formal portraits my children gave me around the same time.

The one on the right is my favorite. Much more natural.

Is it the hockey jersey from the USSR my son is wearing in what was supposed to be a formal portrait, that takes away from my elegance?

I don't think so. I like that picture just as it is. Why would I want an unnatural pose, or a picture of him in clothing donned for a fifteen-minute-photo shoot and never worn again?

Hey, I love that Rudolph special!

Just to the right of that picture is my gargoyle. One of them. My daughter bought him for me at a Renaissance Fair. The only embarassing thing about him is all that dust. He's so high up, I can't see that when I'm sitting at my computer. The space ship is Hub's; it's dusty, too, but I don't touch his stuff. And yes, that is a hot pink Donald Duck. Why, do you find that odd? I've had it for so long, it seems more normal than the white, pantsless Donald that's banned in Denmark. I also own a bright orange Pluto, and he seems very ordinary to me, too.

One of Hub's comic books fell down, I see. I'd straighten it up if I could reach up there.

There's a shelf above that one but I can't get a good angle without standing on a chair, and that's risky business at my weight age.

Further to the right, on those shelves, you would see more comic books, more space ships, more statues, several speakers, a big static ball, a turntable (Hub likes to make cd's of all his favorite old albums) and a large microscope.

I used to have a static ball, but when I cleaned out my old classroom, I gave it away to a sweet student. I gave away my lava lamp, too. And my disembodied hand with the flexible fingers.

I'd mention the rubber chicken that hung above my desk, but I don't want you to think I'm strange. I was speaking of elegance, remember?

I've told you before about my clock obsession. Here is the only clock in the house that I never consult. (I have to get right up on it to read the hands; shhh, don't tell anybody.) Hub bought it almost thirty years ago.

This room used to be Zappa's room. He grew up and moved out, but he still gives me awesome Christmas presents. That bloodshot-eyeball lamp is from him, too.

All the clutter around my work area is evidence of my Ebay doings. I used to have a 'joint' Ebay account with several other people but now I have my own. I don't recommend sharing an account.

Finally, does anybody want a kitten?

I changed the subject because it became clear to me that I am not elegant.

This doesn't bother me as much as it ought to.

Having only to choose between 'elegant' and 'funky,' I chose 'funky.'

Good thing, huh.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:19 PM | |

The Creepiest Thing EVER.

Oh, jeebers, I didn't need this.
Thanks a lot, Little Professor.  I love your blog but now I'm all itchy, and I keep seeing tiny little movements out of the corner of my eye.
Already had lunch?  Then go look at THIS.  If you haven't eaten yet, you might want to wait.
I know I'm itchy from the poison ivy, but even so. . . . . .
My computer's fan keeps kicking on.  I hope it's nothing "alive."
Excuse me now while I go take another shower. 
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:34 PM | |

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Evolution of Dance

All week I have been laughing at THIS.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:12 PM | |

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Itchy and Scratchy

Internet icon Buzz is wondering if perhaps the blogosphere isn't as kind as it used to be.  My answer?  I don't know.  Most of the blogs I read are by really nice people. Buzz is one of the nicest, by the way.
I do know this, though:  my own blog has gotten pretty whiny lately, and I apologize for that.  I have tried to be kind all my life, and if I'm one of the ones Buzz is speaking of, I'm sorry, and I'm going to try not to be so picky and snarky.
This is hard when a person lives here and has been through so much, but I'm going to try.
I'll backslide, I know; there are still a lot of frustrations I need to work out, and I do not suffer fools gladly.  However, I'm really going to try to be more upbeat, and to try to bring people UP rather than further DOWN.
If I get too "Pollyanna," please slap me back.  I always thought she was too goody-two-shoes to be true.
Well, here goes:
I'm so glad this poison ivy is all over my face and neck instead of in a place I can't scratch in public.
How's that?
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:37 PM | |

Dirty Little Secrets

I don't know about you, but whenever I encounter anything like this, I am immediately suspicious of those who forbid the discussion.

What are they afraid of, anyway? The truth? I think that's exactly what they're afraid of: a truth that would prove them in the wrong.

This community routinely discards its coaches, teachers, students. . . hard-working people in all walks, and inevitably the powers-that-be will forbid any discussion concerning the circumstances, whys, or wherefores, of the decision.

Everybody's in the dark, and in the dark, there be monsters, and the biggest and most dangerous monsters there be, be rumor and innuendo.

With some open discussion, rumor and innuendo would be banished. It's almost as if the powers-that-be WANT rampant rumor and innuendo, to divert the people's attention away from what is really happening. . . .

Oh, surely not.

Oh, surely 'tis so.

This town is famous for it. They did it last year with a kind, decent, and winning coach, and they did it again last week with a creative, successful, and excellent teacher. They're doing it right now with a dear and precious friend.

This town does it all the time. It's their thang.

But shhhhh, we can't discuss it. It's forbidden.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:16 PM | |

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Did you ever have one of those feelings that two people you really, really respect and love are doing something you knew they were eventually going to do but are doing it NOW?
Me, too.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:53 PM | |

Blog It Forward

In a concept blatantly and shamelessly stolen from the awesome Buzz, I invite you all to participate in "Blog It Forward."

Randomly (or purposely) select a blog from your own blogroll and tell people to pay it a visit. This is not rocket science, thank heaven, this is something I can actually do without sweating a lot and falling into a panicky wad.

The only hard thing about it is picking only one. I love everyone on my blogroll and to pick out only one. . . . . that's difficult. But you know what, after thinking about it for only a few minutes, one name stood out today.

Everybody click on over to visit Anne, who is a truly lovely person. Anne just lost her father, and could use some good wishes from some kind and wonderful people, which is what all of YOU certainly are. After you're read just a little of what Anne has to say, you'll probably want to add her to YOUR blogroll and experience her every day. She's just simply wonderful. I love Anne, and so will you.

Now, click and comment. (please.)

You'll be a better person for discovering Anne.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:11 PM | |

Monday, May 22, 2006

Wendy's. Bah.

We went to Wendy's tonight.  We hadn't been to Wendy's for quite some time; their food is good and all, but, well, here's why we seldom go there.
They have NEVER, in all the years they've been in this town, gotten my order right.  Ever.  Drive through, inside. . . . it doesn't matter.  It's wrong  EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.
How hard can it be to make a single with mustard?
Hub:  Single with ketchup, mustard, pickles, extra onion, tomato, and lettuce.  They get it right.
MIL:  Single with mustard, onion, tomato, and lettuce.  They get it right.
Me:  Single with mustard.  It's wrong every time.  It's as if Wendy's employees have been ordered to never allow a burger with only one condiment out of the kitchen.
What's up with this weirdness?
I don't understand it.  And if I take it back, it's always the worst inconvenience in the universe for them.  Their sighs could be heard four counties over.
So I just scrape off the mound of stuff and make the best of it.
Customer service my Aunt Fanny.
See you in six months, Wendy's. 
It's really gone downhill since Dave died.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:31 PM | |

I am often sought for my vast technowledge.

I've been listening to my MixMania cd's and they are fabulous. Thank you, mystery-person-whose-name-I-will-know-soon. I'll thank you again, then!

I bet I was the first person to get mine; I got them the day after the mailing day. My MixPartner must have mailed them RIGHT ON TIME, or even early. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Patriside's Mixmania is really fun; I recommend that all music-loving bloggers sign up for his next theme. He hasn't announced it yet but I know it will be good. It always is.

I'm going over to my MIL's house in about an hour. She's getting cable for both her tv and her computer, and she wants someone there who can understand the technician when he tells her complicated things like 'plug this into the wall socket.'

Does anyone else find it amusing that there is someone in this world who uses a computer daily but has even less knowledge than I do about how it's actually done?

You didn't know there was anyone with less technowledge than I have?

Well, I know of one. I love her dearly, but she makes me feel techno-smart, and this is so not true.

I'm wondering in advance, though, how well a cable connection will sit with her small, very old, Windows 95 computer. We might be taking her up to Fry's soon.

As I type this, my son has been working at his new job for an hour and a half now.

The college, in its infinite wisdom, hired him to work in the IT department. Work-study, so he can fit the hours around his class schedule. He will be taking his turn on the helpline, too. I find this ironic, because I call that helpline sometimes.

I'll be calling it fairly often, actually, as I learn to use Blackboard and all of its cool functions this session. The seminar helped, but not enough. I think it's one of those many things that just has to be done to be learned. Like driving. A book and a seminar will only go so far; you just have to get behind the wheel and do it. Like other things, too, but my daughter reads this blog and she doesn't know that I know anything about sex. I guess I should be giving her the 'talk' soon; she's in her twenties and it's time. I'm sure it will be invaluable; there are lots of things I still don't know.

You know, my mother never gave me the 'talk.' All she did was shove that Kotex pamphlet under the bathroom door one day and run. Remember that pamphlet? "Growing Up and Liking It."

Well, I like most of it.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:48 AM | |

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Summertime, and I'm still waiting for the livin' to get easy.

When the wave primroses bloom, it's officially summer. The calendar might pretend it knows the exact date, but it's the flowers that really know.

Calendars and clocks and watches and that little time/date thing at the bottom right of a computer are useful, yes.

But if you want to know when summer's really here, look at the flowers.

And if you have wave primroses, you are luckier than most. They are absofrickenlutely beautiful, and they breed underground and spread like wildfire, almost before your very eyes. I planted eight little dead-looking sticks last summer, and this summer I've got about four square feet of them, plus all the little escapees.

They smell good, too.

Yup, summer's here. It might be in the high fifties some days, still, but it's summer. The wave primroses are starting to bloom.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:01 PM | |

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Friendly Intervention.

There I was, on the riding mower, circling and circling and circling the lawn,  and thinking that finally, FINALLY, after all these days of constant pouring rain, that I was going to get the grass cut. 
As I approached the house on one of my circuits, I saw Hub standing in the driveway, flagging me down.
"Brenda called.  She's in town."
YESSSSS!  My beautiful dear friend who had the audacity to move away a few years ago was in town!!!!!! 
I finished my mowing circuit, parked the mower in the garage, ran up the stairs, jumped into the shower, put on CLEAN JEANS (that's how much I love Brenda!!) and drove to meet her.
We hadn't seen each other in about two years or so but it was like we'd never been separated at all.  It will always be like that for Brenda and me. 
We drove around the town (that took about three minutes) and finally settled down in a fast-food restaurant, in a back booth, with diet cokes in front of each of us, and proceeded to fill each other in. 
All I can tell you is this:  if any of you is fortunate enough to have a wonderful friend like Brenda, you should count your blessings.  Life just doesn't get much better than that.
P.S.  Please go to her website and buy her books.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:55 PM | |

Friday, May 19, 2006

Music is Magic. With Alice Faye and Deanna Durbin. Not.

Ordinarily I would post a playlist of random songs my hard drive would throw out at me while I worked at my desk, but this week I'm not.
I'm too caught up in the fantastic cd's the incredible Sterfish sent me.  I'm sitting here, eating a sandwich (when am I not eating something?) and I'm watching my Windows Media Player go all funkily random on the screen and I'm listening to this absolutely fantastic mix and I'm thinking things like. . . . mine are never this good.
Thanks again, Sterfish. 
My daughter borrowed them and for a while I thought I'd never get them back. 
Holy cow, Sterfish, this is GREAT.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:35 PM | |

Isn't It Ironic, Dontcha Think?

I've posted parts of this on here before, but I've gussied it up and am getting ready to submit it to an actual teacher magazine. What do you think?


Facts Are The Enemy of Truth

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild,
Had Mary been filled with reason,
There'd have been no room for the child.
--by Madeleine L'Engle

School administrators puzzle me. They don't seem quite human sometimes. When they look at a group of students, what do they see? I mean, what are they really SEEING, when they look at our children? What are they seeing when they look at the teachers? I think they see statistics. I don't think they see children, or educators; I think they see numbers, and dollar signs. Their schools are not filled with children; they are filled with potential federal cash cows, and potential lawsuits if their parents are not catered to. There are no educators; there are only puppets.

Children are not measurable. Statistics are.

I have a hard time understanding people who see progress only as a measurable statistic. I have problems with people who see creativity as a threat to order. I don't get along well with people who see rebellion as a disregard for the status quo. What a sad commentary on our society, that the movers and shakers are mown down and shackled, just when they most need to be exposed to every innovation, every wonder, every aspect of the world that can possibly be brought into the classroom.

What kind of people have we become, when attempts to guide are interpreted by those in ultimate control as journeys into perversion? When did going out of one's way to try to help someone become inappropriate? Why must everyone now be so very equalized that much individuality is lost? Of what societal or individual use is an echo? The ingredients in a multiple vitamin are standardized; children should not be.

What possible good can be accomplished by a reflection that is not one's own? I've seen a child's original poem edited and corrected until the end result had nothing to do with that individual child's talent or purpose. But then and only then did it get a good grade.

When the arts are removed completely (and they already are, in some schools; for the rest, it's just a matter of time.) to make room for more practical, measurable, easily understandable lessons in math, sports, grammar, sports, science, sports, sports, sports, PC, and sports, what will our children have to write about? And why should they bother?

Our nation isn't, to our shame, much about the intellectualism thing. (I made that sentence appalling on purpose.) It's strange to me, then, that administrations set such store by IQ's and standardized testing. An IQ cannot measure artistic ability. A high score on the ISTEP does not measure a capacity for love. We have no test that measures common sense. All we have are standardized tests that give us statistics, and statistics are not facts. I've ranted about that before. Statistics are people, with the tears wiped off. (Professor Irving Selikoff ) This is not good. We need the tears, too. The numbers are not accurate without the tears. Or the laughter.

Tears and laughter are not measurable. Therefore they are of no use to school administrators. They want only those things that can be measured with straight numbers, graded by a machine. In order to do this, things that make our children laugh or cry or sing or dance or draw or paint are no longer allowed in many of our schools. And yes, sometimes crying in school is a good thing. I've had students weep over a story in a book, or a scene in a film, or a headline in the newspaper. It's GOOD. (I'm not talking about bad things that make children cry.)

The ability to love, to be loved, to express love: can it be that these are more important than grammar, or math, or social studies? I think they are. I also believe that a good teacher can do both at once, if ever he/she is allowed to do so again.

How do we teach children to have compassion, to allow people to be different, to understand that "like" is not the same as "equal?" How do we teach our children to laugh, to love, and to accept the fact that the most important questions a human being can ask do not have - nor do they need - statistical right-or-wrong answers.

There are even "educators" (and I use the term loosely) out there who believe that creativity itself can be taught, and who write learned (hahahahaha) and usually dull, treatises and articles and textbooks on methods of teaching it. If you try to eat air, you'll. . . . well, you know what happens when you eat air. What comes out usually stinks.

The creative impulse, like love, can be killed, but it can't be taught. What a teacher CAN do, in working with young people, is to give the flame enough oxygen so that it can burn. As far as I'm concerned, this providing of oxygen is one of the noblest of all vocations. Teaching out of a text so a test score will be higher is not.

In most modern schools, however, the providing of oxygen is forbidden. Only the hot air of measurable statistics is permitted, because this is the only sort of thing understood by many of those in charge.

When we make complicated that which is simple, the powers of darkness rejoice.

The powers of darkness rejoice whenever a child's creative light is ignored or extinguished by a system that considers only statistics to be of merit. Not on the test? It won't be tolerated.

The powers of darkness rejoice whenever a creative and caring teacher is removed by a system that considers only in-the-box, good ol' boy, make-no-waves, textbook-teachers to have merit. What an ironic thing. What a joke on me. All these years, I thought my job was to teach and help young people. What a reality jolt to be told, after all these years of what people told me was success, that my job is NOT to help students, or to teach students, or to guide students; it is to teach spelling, grammar, and literature, and that it must be done with absolutely no delving into humanity, personality, or creativity. The language arts made rational. It is a travesty.

Facts. Facts. Measurable facts, cut and dried.

Have we learned nothing from Don Quixote de la Mancha? Is there no one out there in a position of authority who understands that facts are the enemy of truth? It’s better to tilt at windmills than to deprive our students of their individuality by cramming them into the little boxes of comformity. Yes, no student should ever be allowed to graduate or move on if he/she can not pass a basic grade-level skills test; but to teach only to that test? Absolutely unacceptable. Removing the magic from learning should be a capital crime.

And when all the glory and wonder and magic of the language are removed, there is nothing left but the very safe, very statistically provable, very politically correct picking of the bleached, sanitary bones. Our language, in all its glory, forcefully ebbing, forcefully waning, its light put under a bushel lest someone see something sentient and therefore potentially controversial and unmeasurable. Our children's talents buried, hidden under that same bushel, to be dug up every nine weeks for a progress check.

WAIT! Over there! A teacher is laughing with her students! Can't have it. BAM, she's gone. Whew, that was close.

Bullying teachers? Check. Sleeping teachers? Check. Incompetent teachers? Check. Adulterous teachers? Check. Racist teachers? Check. Oh, we're keeping all of those; no two styles are the same, you know.

WAIT! Over there! A teacher tried to help a student after hours! Can't have it. BAM, she's gone. Whew, another close one.

Decent, hardworking, winning coach/teacher? Sweet. But WAIT! A famous name says he's willing to coach if there's ever an opening! BAM. Instant opening. A few rules are broken but it's all in the name of a winning season so it's okay. Irony: no more winning season.

Plagiarist? Check. Another plagiarist? Check. Two plagiarizing valedictorians in a row. But it's okay; their families are prominent, and the principal approved. He's no longer principal, by the way.

He's now the assistant superintendent.

Students with bullet belts? Check. Students who use racist epithets? Check. Hey, that's just how we do things around here.

Student's car, parked in lot, has an empty beer can on floor of back seat? Expelled. Student wasn't even in the car at the time? Doesn't matter. Zero tolerance.

LD student steals a girl's purse, opens it, and eats all her Midol tablets. Student gets sick. Girl is suspended for bringing drugs to school. Zero tolerance.

Student's purse strap catches on fire alarm. Parents are called in. They are nobody. Student is suspended for a week. Zero tolerance.

Student deliberately pulls fire alarm. Parents are called in. They are somebody. Principal slaps student on the wrist and sends him back to class. Check.

Student is seen putting Orajel on gums because newly-tightened braces are causing pain. Student suspended for drug usage. Zero tolerance.

Student unplugs a teacher's computer and disconnects the monitor. Check. Boy was just being playful and silly.

Same boy has a website called Hate_____(insert various teachers' names in blank.) All the students know about it. Boy takes pictures of teachers with cameraphone and posts them on these websites. Obscene language. Check. Boy honored with free trip to California for being so web-savvy.

Student steals Chapstick from girl's purse, and eats it. Student gets sick. Girl suspended for bringing drugs to school. Zero tolerance.

Inhalers must be kept locked in the office. They're considered drugs, too.

Okay, let's calm down now and take some tests. They'll determine your future, but no pressure. Anybody left in the room? Begin. Make your mark heavy and dark.

I guess that in today's educational mentality, dormancy is a positive; at the very least it means a child has not regressed (bad for statistics); at the very most, it means that a child has not done any thinking. (also bad for statistics.) How safe, for those in charge. Imagination, that creation of an image for one's thoughts, is the great enemy of the payroll statistician, of the elected administration, of the appointed administration, and of the population created by them.

Also, when a school's scores are low one year, and higher the next year, the school gets more money than if the scores had been high all along. Improvement has merit; being good all the time does not.

"Picture Satan in a business suit, with well-groomed horns, a superbly switching tail, a wide, salesman's grin, sitting with folded hands behind a large shiny desk, its top littered with the paper trails of many a person's demise, thinking 'Aha! If I can substitute images for reality, if I can substitute statistics for people, if I can substitute good public relations for truth, I can get a lot more people under my domination." (L'Engle)

This is what I picture when I think of a school administrator now.

Public opinion. Administrative opinion. Political correctness. Euphemisms.

And by whose values is a test labeled "objective?"

“An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy. Current methodology, the morbid preoccupation with scores and statistics, is destroying our society's ontology:its essence, its BEING.” (L'Engle)

It seems that when those in charge do not understand a thing, they straightaway condemn it. Simplicity itself. These are the kind of people who never understand anything unless it is told them in very plain language and hammered into their heads. And even then they understand it only with their brains and not with their hearts. Such people don't like creativity. They like facts. Facts are easier to comprehend. They take little effort. They represent money. They’re easy to come by and grade. The main thing, however, is money.

Money talks. Statistics mean money. What is then the most important thing to listen to? Statistics.

The whispers of creativity and love and kindness and hard work are seldom heard above the screaming of administrative-types seeking money-making statistics. Teachers who go above and beyond the call of measurable duty are facing a firing squad, and the guns could go off at any moment. It’s dangerous, for many, TOO dangerous, to put yourself on the line to help a child. Those who take the chance, are taking a genuine chance. An administrator who can’t comprehend such a thing will do all in his power to remove a genuinely caring teacher from the ranks, lest there be talk. The truth be damned; they are concerned only with public opinion.

The concentration of a child in play is analogous to the concentration of an artist of any discipline. But unless the child's output can be objectively measured, many administrators dismiss such activities and substitute activities which have a statistically measurable output. Recess is gone, in many schools. The time is needed to prepare for standardized tests. Wiggly little children have no outlet for their natural energy. They 'act up' and are punished. If there are music and art classes still in the curriculum, they are crammed with six or seven times the student population of an academic class; it’s just music, after all. Helpless teachers cry out in vain for common sense and fairness and they are not heard. Such things do not exist in the world of statistics and measurements. And our children are standing in the corner, trying not to move, lest they disturb other children who are having facts crammed into their heads that they might retrieve them for the State.

Don’t misinterpret me here. I believe in testing. I'm no tree-huggin' earth mother who thinks children should sing and dig clay out of the ground for art and eat granola all day long. I believe in math and science and grammar and spelling and history. But I also believe that these are only a partial list of things that our children need to learn, so they will become rational adults who are able to earn their own living, care for themselves and for others, appreciate culture, have fun, and contribute, rather than take away, from society.

We must never lose sight of the fact that civilizations are judged by the arts they leave behind, not for statistics and varsity letters. What will the archaeologists of the future be able to say about our civilization? That we taught our children to be joyless? That we valued a statistic far more than a painting? That we stifled laughter and encouraged apathy? That we honored a scoreboard more than a poem? "Where are the statues and paintings and stories?" Can you hear them wondering? Can you? Or are you too busy condoning the firing of a winning and competent coach so that a Name Brand might be hired in his place? Are you too busy basking in the sea of innuendo and assumption, and ruining teachers’ careers and lives based on nothing but rumors and lies? I think some administrators are, and that they love it. They must, or they wouldn’t continue to do it. They did it again two days ago, right here.

It is sad but true that we are a litigious society. It is sad but true that many of the above facts originate out of fear of a lawsuit, or fear of adverse public opinion/publicity. The self-esteem police and the PC patrol and the heliocopter parents are rampant, and are to be truly feared. That is sad, too.

But it is even sadder that the society which strikes the most fear into the hearts of the schools was created by this fact-finding mentality that is so prevalent today.

The saddest, and the truest, is that this is a vicious circle, and no one seems to have the intestinal fortitude to straighten it out. Indeed, as so many of us have discovered, it is too dangerous to try. =================================================================================================p>

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:12 PM | |

Sweep Your Steps!!!

Sam Levinson, that wonderful hilarious writer who could tug on your heartstrings and tickle your funnybone with one sentence, said that his mother used to say, "If everybody swept their own front steps, the whole world would be clean."
This can be taken literally, or it can be made into a very effective allegory; you pick one.  I've chosen both.
By the way, if you haven't read his books, run, RUN, for the bookstore.  You just can't waste any more minutes not knowing them practically by heart.  Yes, they are that good.
"Everything But Money" (my favorite), "In One Era and Out the Other," "You Don't Have To Be In Who's Who To Know What's What" . . . Sam Levinson's books are classically wonderful.  You'll laugh out loud, and you'll cry out loud, too.  Mostly, you will laugh.  I can't recommend these books highly enough.
The books are old, OLD, and I don't know if they are out of print or not.  However, they are all still available on Amazon; I just checked.
It's too bad, isn't it, that so many people in this world are perfectly content to live with dirty front steps.  I wonder why that is. . . . .
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 5:14 PM | |

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Because I said so, Adrian.

Why does this cartoon make me giggle uncontrollably? After all, parents aren't perfect, and we all need help.

Just not from Adrian.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:16 PM | |

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Carnivals, Valedictorians, Sunshine, Lawn Danger, Chinese Opera, Restrooms, and other people's cats

The latest Carnival of Education is up, over at the Education Wonks.  Click on over and find out what's been going on this past week in the world of education.  Remember, if you don't keep up with what's happening, you forfeit your right to whine about it.  It's like voting in that respect.  (You didn't vote?  Then shut up.)
Thanks to the people who are giving me advice about how to care for the kittens.  I'm feeding them and making sure my deck stays clean, but other than that, I'm not doing it.  They're not mine, remember; they belong next door.  I can barely afford CheapoChunks for Charley Gordon, and there's no way I can buy quality cat food for the neighbors' cats.
My own cat has long since been 'fixed,' but I can't take six cats that are not even mine to the vet and have them done likewise. 
Until they move on, however, I'm sure enjoying them.  Except for the poop part, that is. It was sunny today so the turds did dry out, which made them easy to sweep off the deck.  I'll be purchasing a new dollar broom tomorrow at the Dollar Tree, though.
Graduation is coming up, and many people here are almost in shock; for the first time in several years, our valedictorian really is the student with the highest grade point average.  Not "somebody's" son, not "somebody's" daughter, not a rich kid who had been found guilty of plagiarism his junior year and had it expunged by the principal, and not a rich kid who had been found guilty of plagiarism his junior year and had it expunged by the same principal the very next year.  Our valedictorian really and truly earned the honor, and for the first time in several years, it's actually an honor instead of a joke.
Congratulations to you, Local Valedictorian.  You've made history in this corporation; you actually earned it.  Everybody is proud of you.  The Social Register is in shock, but who cares?
The sun came out today; it's the first non-pouring-rain day in a week.  It was wonderful.  As I drove to town to meet Frau, I passed dozens of people on riding mowers. 
I think they're crazy.  Everything is still wet, and it's dangerous to ride a mower on wet grass. Our lawn is too hilly; the thing would flip over.
That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
Tomorrow I'm meeting my Tumorless Sister for dinner.  We'll be at Noodletown at six; come join us.  It's an awesome place, and the cooks sing Chinese opera in the kitchen. I've posted about it before.
Their restroom is unlike any you're ever seen.  You go through the door marked "Restrooms" and you're OUTSIDE, and there's a sign stuck in the grass pointing you to the Panera Bakery next door, where they actually have a restroom.  It's hilarious, unless you're in a hurry.
And now I'm going to the kitchen for some chocolate-covered peanuts and some movie-theater-buttery popcorn.  For supper.  Why, what are YOU having?  I'm on vacation for two more days and I'll do whatever I want.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:32 PM | |

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I think that I shall never see. . . .

Hub and I were looking at the stand of pine trees on the north side of our house, and remembering the day we planted them. In Indiana, anybody can get free tree seedlings from the State Nursery, and one day many years ago, we drove there and loaded up.

The pines were wispy little things, invisible when the sun was just right. For years, it was hard to tell a seedling tree from a tall weed. For years, I rode the riding mower around them. And then, one summer, I coudn't.

Today, they tower over our property. Rabbits and quail live in the piney grove. It's beautiful and I love it.

We do need to get out the chain saw and do some weeding. There are some lurker trees hanging about in there, and they musn't be allowed to choke out the pines.

It's a piney grove and nothing else. No interlopers allowed.

Pines and hardwoods together? Not in the grove. Elsewhere, sure.

I love trees. Evergreens, hardwoods, all of them. I even like the pesky catalpa trees that try to overrun us every year. The blossoms are beautiful and they smell wonderful. The long green worms in the summer, not so much. Fishermen come to the door and ask for the worms, though. Apparently, the fish love them.

So sure, mix those trees. Except in the piney grove.

As one of my students wrote last semester, "I do, like God himself, love all kinds of trees, both hardwood and marsupial."

I really don't think a person can be a good teacher without a finely-honed sense of humor. And I know that God has one; just look at all the hardwoods and marsupials out there.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:51 PM | |

Adorable baby kittens. Free to good home.

Hey, does anyone want a kitten? They're irresistable, really.

They're not mine, but they've been living on my deck for the past week. Four yellow ones (one with a white face) and a dark grey one with light grey and gold highlights.

My own poor elderly cat is so intimidated by the MomCat, he won't even assert himself enough to eat out of his own dish when I pour the cheap cat food chunks in it. That first chunk hits the plastic and those kittens are all over that dish like piranha on a cow's hind leg. If poor Charley Gordon comes near it, MomCat takes a swipe at him. There's enough hissing out there to rival a den of snakes. And I know what that sounds like, too.

But, but, but. . . . they're so cuuuuute. They really are. And aren't they too young to be chowing down on CheapoChunks? They're only a month old, for crying out loud, which they also do a lot.

They're still nursing, yes. But they're also eating a LOT of CheapoChunks. MomCat has also stopped cleaning them up when they poop, which means that I'm hosing down my deck once a day, and sometimes more. This must cease.

Dear neighbors, please come and get your kittens. You know where they've been for the past week. If they're still here when I get home from this Blackboard class, I'm bringing them over.

I probably shouldn't have put that big covered box out there. With an old blanket in it.

Well, here they were, and I was worried about the raccoons and possums eating them.

Whoops, look at the time! Got to feed all those cats and get to class.

I mean, feed MY cat. Or try.

Poor old kitty. Him's totally outnumbered and him's done out of his own little dish. Not fair. And look, there's the MomCat standing guard.

I'll get the hose out when I get back. Ain't nobody sittin' out there just yet. Yuck.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:07 AM | |

Monday, May 15, 2006

Home might be where the heart is, but some mighty stupid people live here, too.

Wow, this town is rockin' with controversies this spring!

We've got a social studies teacher who told his classes that "Slavery wasn't all that bad. Don't you get punished by your parents when you do something wrong?” When his students tried to argue with him, they were told to sit down and be quiet.

Was anything done? Nope. We've got about ten black families in this town and they're very unhappy, but nothing was done. We've got several thousand other families in this town who are also very unhappy, but nothing was done. Nothing is ever done when something deserves to be done.

We've got a teacher who devotes half or more of every class period to 'silent reading.' If there's time, he teaches them something. Has anyone spoken to him about this? No. This is not the kind of silent reading that I used to look forward to when I was in school, by the way.

We've got a teacher who falls asleep at least once every period. His students watch for it, and when his head falls back and he starts to snore, they tiptoe all over the room and pretty much go silently bonkers. Sometimes, they go out into the hall and point through the window so others can see the sleeping teacher. Was anything ever done? No.

We've got another teacher who playfully put a little piece of tape over the mouth of a disruptive student. The student laughed and straightened up, and life went on. But apparently another student snapped a picture of the taped-up student with a cell phone camera and showed it to her parents at home, and those parents, completely unrelated to the student in question, complained to the principal and the teacher was put on administrative leave, which is a euphemism for being suspended and investigated.

The community has risen up in defense of this teacher, but the administration will not back down and apologize. The parents of the disruptive student have gone on record as backing the teacher. Nobody except this one uninvolved family is upset over what happened; it was all done in the spirit of fun and being silly. There have been several letters to the editor in protest, but not a word from gestapo administration. No apology, no backing down, nothing.

They never do. This administration is famous for its ridiculous and disgraceful decisions, and heresay, rumor, and innuendo are their doctrines. They really don't care about proof otherwise, either.

This is the system that promotes the principal and fires the secretary, whenever they're caught with their pants down, remember?

This is the system that would not punish a group of boys for harassing another boy with the "n" word, because "in this community, that's just how a lot of people talk, and the boys didn't know any better." Right. In the eighth grade.

This is the system that said it was all right for the boys to wear bullet belts, because most of them were hunters and "that's how we do in these parts."

It's a shame. It's a travesty.

It's home.

How embarassing to live here.

Oh, and I'm in a kind of bad mood tonight. Why? I have no idea. I just am. There really are many lovely people in this community; I am just saddened by what's NOT being done. Injustice is hard to bear. Or should be, anyway.

Tomorrow I'm driving up to the city to take a short course in using "Blackboard" so I can teach some hybrid courses this summer.

Yes, "Blackboard." I just can't figure out what the long white sticks of chalk are for, and some professors are going to show me how to use them.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:10 PM | |

Business in the front, party in the back.

Ooh, I saw a lot of these this weekend. Not at OUR reunion, heavens no, but out at all the fine local shopping venues here.

You know, WalMart, K-Mart, Lowe's. . . . and that farm implement place where we bought the fence posts. The one with the baby chickens.

I'm not making fun of people with mullets or anything, but. . . .oh, okay, I'm making fun of people with mullets.

Really, I only have one question: WHY?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:06 AM | |

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Why, yes, that is a shotgun in her hands. What's your point?

Just obey her, and everything will be all right.

That's my Mom. Everything will be all right. She'll take care of you.

Um, just how did you all think I learned to shoot snakes, anyway?

Heck, all of us kids were reloading shells before we were ten, and one of the things we most hated to hear Dad say was "Get in the car, kids, we're going out to the gun club to pick up wads."

The gun club. That will have to be a separate post.

If I have that recurring dream tonight where I'm sitting underground in the traphouse in ankle-deep water, loading trap on that electronic monster, I'll be really upset. Loading was better than pulling, but as I said, the whole experience will have to be a separate post. Some other time.

Actually, being forced to play with all those extremely perverted, bizarre, freaky, scary, and stupid weird children there was the worst part.

Tomorrow, all of Mom's daughters will be at her house, bearing food and gifts. My sisters will bring hanging flower baskets for Mom, whereas I always give her something. . . . else. This year I'm giving her "Along Came Polly" on DVD. I know she'll especially love the bathroom scene.

Private joke. (sorry, Dad.)

Turn off your TV, Mom; we're all coming over.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:26 AM | |

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Love My Mom Very, Very Much.


Now, I want it understood that I absolutely ADORE my mother.  She was everything, and more, that a mother should be, when we were kids growing up.  She never had much as a kid growing up, and I really think she loved our dolls and toys as much if not more than we did.  I can just barely remember Mom getting down on the floor and playing paper dolls with my sister and me.


With the younger two, she wasn't able to be a playful mom.  By then, Dad was getting sick and we didn't know, and she had other things to deal with.  But the oldest two kids, we got the funny playful mommy.  By that time, I was in my early teens, and I couldn't grow up fast enough.


Of course, once I hit those teens and wanted to grow up some more, she put her foot down on a lot of things that everybody else in the known universe got to do but that’s not what this post is about.


(I’ve forgotten all about how she chose and bought my formal for Prom without even consulting me or telling me she was going to do it.  Honest, I never think about that.  And even though it was the most hideous dress this side of a bridesmaid’s dress that you or anyone else could even imagine,  and I cried for days, and ended up apologizing to HER for hurting her feelings, I just never think about it any more.  Haven’t for years.  And that big bow she added herself to ‘fancy it up?’ I’m sure it was a lot prettier than I remember.  It had to be, there was only one way to go.  But I never think of those things now.)


I want it understood that I love my mother.  I sincerely, honestly, love my mother.  I'm proud to be her daughter.


However, unlike anybody else's mother, she is occasionally embarassing when we're out in public.


This post is about taking Mom to the movies, or actually, taking her anywhere in public.  It’s best done with all the daughters together, but sometimes I take her with just the two of us.  You’d think I’d have learned by now but I guess I forget in between times because I keep doing it.  In fact, Mom and I are going to the local Little Theatre next week.  (Scotty's in the play, by the way.)


The thing with Mom is, she’s forgotten how to whisper.  Everyone she sees either looks somehow familiar, or is a total stranger and where in the world did they come from and what do they want?  And do I know them? 


And if I know them and she doesn’t, where did I meet them?  Do I work with them?  Does Mom know any of their family?  Why are they wearing those clothes?  Who cuts their hair?  Why would they go out into public looking like that?


And did you hear the scandal about his/her (pick one) father, mother, sister, brother, Aunt Matilda, son, daughter, etc?   (Oh, they can’t hear me.  They’re busy.)


Me:  Mom, you’re really loud.  Hold it down.


Mom:  Oh, they don’t know me anyway.


Me:  Mom, they know ME.


Mom:  Well, that’s all right, they can’t hear me anyway.  Besides, it’s no secret, everybody knows.


Me:  Mom, WHISPER.


(Movie finally starts.  See if you can guess which movie.)


Mom:  Now, explain to me what they’re doing.


Me:  Mom, they’re transferring a dinosaur from the truck to the compound.


Mom:  Dinosaurs are extinct.  Is this a Disney movie?  Poor Annette, she’s in a wheelchair now, did you know?  Do they sing in this movie?


Me:  It’s based on a science fiction novel, Mom.  They’ve cloned dinosaurs and are stocking a park with them.


Mom:  Is that a ride?  That man is jerking up and down awfully fast, and he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it.


Me:  No, Mom, the truck slipped and the dinosaur grabbed the man.


Mom:  They shouldn’t show things like that in the theater.  It makes people afraid to ride the rides.


Me:  It’s not a ride.  A dinosaur grabbed him and is going to devour him the minute the camera turns the other way.


Mom:  I won’t believe that till I see the dinosaur.


Me:  Before long you will, Mom.


Mom:  Now, nobody else in the theater knows what’s happening either, do they?




Honestly, I don’t know why we haven’t been thrown out.  It must be because our dialogue (and her monologue) is usually a lot better than the movie dialogue.


I hate sitting by people like us.




This next one really belongs to my sisters, but I’ll tell it anyway.  I'm sorry I missed this one, it must have been one of the greats.


Setting:  local sandwich shop:


Mom:  Our former minister has started a new church.  It’s full of wife-swappers.


Sis:  Mom, hold your voice down, that’s not a very nice thing to say.


Mom:  Well, it’s true.  Maybe people should be warned.


Sis:  Mom, you’re repeating gossip.


Mom:  It’s not gossip when you know it’s true.


Sis:  Well, try to whisper.  The waitress might hear you.


Mom:  She already knows.  That’s his daughter.




Mom:  And that girl behind the cash register?  That’s his daughter, too.




Mom:  Shh, why are you always so loud in public?


We’ve all given up.


Good thing we love her.


Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  You're the greatest and I wouldn't trade you for any TV sitcom mom in any era.  Not even for Morticia.


And I always thought Morticia was awesome.


You don't think MY kids will ever tell people I'm embarassing, do you? 






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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:47 AM | |

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where Is The Groom? He's In The Other Room. In Ohio.

Former teacher's pet and current beloved friend Wes is getting married tomorrow.  He invited me (honest, he really did!!) but I can't go because of a family thing. 
But since none of us can go to his wedding, let's all go over to his blog and shower him with good wishes.  He's a great guy, and I knew he was even when he was a kid in 8th grade.
Sometimes, on the first day of school, you just KNOW.  With Wes, I knew.
Thank you, dear Wes, for becoming a kind, caring, sensitive, considerate, snarky, sarcastic, cool man.  Most of the time we agree on the important things, and even when we don't, we're both open to listening.  It doesn't change us, but we do listen to each other.   I'd mention your incredible musical talent but . . .. oh wait, I just did.
Oh, and by the way, the fact that just because I say so isn't always good enough for you, is one of the many things that makes you cool.
I am sending the very best of good wishes your way, dear Wes.  I hope the sun shines on your wedding, and that there are rainbows and little singing birdies, and butterflies, and all the silly superstitious omens of good fortune in the world.  May all the flowers in your path burst into bloom when you and Jawa Girl walk past them.
I wish for you a home full of love, and music, and frenetic debate.  May you always be as happy as you are this minute.
You know that I have always been on your side, ever since you were a little kid.  I always will be, even when you're wrong.  HAH.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, Wes.  Yes, even then.  I'm talking to you, Mr. Liberal-Leanings.  <---  Just kidding.
From the teacher to the student, and from the old lady to the young man, and from the friend to a friend, then, may the rest of your life be full of wonder and fun and beautiful, beautifuil music..
. . . blowing positive wedding wishes towards the greater Cincinnati area. . . . .
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:19 PM | |

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And People Say I Don't Do Politics!

This one time, in band camp three friends and I took a big group of middle school kids to an Academic Competition about fifty miles from the school. This was no mean feat; it meant arm-wrestling the coaches for a bus, and juggling schedules with the athletic practices for the kids. I won.

On the way home from the meet (where we blew all the other middle schools out of the water, by the way) we stopped at a Dairy Queen. No self-respecting kid would want to sit with the chaperones, so we four adults, and I use that term loosely, had a whole table to ourselves.

After about fifteen minutes of conversation, which included detailed descriptions of everybody's wedding night, our opinions of educational policy and a lot of the administrators we had been afflicted with over the years, people we all knew, the school, some of the schools we had beaten, kids in general, and world peace, we noticed that the students had all moved away from our table, as far away as they could get, in fact, and still be inside the restaurant.

"Good," we thought. "We don't have to whisper."

But we had never been whispering, we realized in horror. Then we laughed some more, and went on talking.

We talked until the manager of the Dairy Queen asked us to leave. We were disturbing the other customers.

We apologized, and told him we would round up the kids and get them out.

"No, no," he assured us. "It wasn't the kids. Your kids are fine."

It was us. The four adult chaperones.

Were we embarassed? Well, yeah, some.

Did we care? Not much, no.

Was it worth it? Heck yeah.

It wasn't like we lived in that town. (Some attitude, huh).

Even the kids had moved away from us. Hahahahahahahaha

A table of four so-called adults. Yup, yup, yup.

One professor, one guardian ad litem, one General Motors executive, and one lieutenant governor of the state.

We're a wild bunch, we are.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:49 PM | |

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bite Me.

I used to work for a principal who kept his teeth in his back pocket.  Every time he sat down, he bit himself on the butt.
It was one of the more intelligent things he used to do.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:44 PM | |

Better Living Through Chemistry?

In keeping with the theme of things I have just now heard of but which everybody else has known for ages, here's the spam my husband sent me today.


In Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, the trade name of Tylenol also has a generic name of Acetaminophen. Aleve is also called Naproxen. Amoxil is also called Amoxicillin and Advil is also called Ibuprofen.

The FDA has been looking for a generic name for Viagra.

After careful consideration by a team of government experts, the FDA recently announced that it has settled on the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin.

Pfizer Corp. announced today that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of "cocktails", "highballs" and just a good old-fashioned "stiff drink." Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: "MOUNT & DO"

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:16 PM | |

I try to keep up with things.

Am I the only person in the world who had never heard of David Blaine until today? 
Does anybody else besides me not give a toot?
I am not interested in watching silly things that make me hyperventilate.
I would rather hyperventilate over, um, other kinds of things.
Drowning is one of my fears.  I can't even watch "A Fish Called Wanda" because of that one scene.
This guy is crazy.
Excuse me.  I have to go hyperventilate in fear for a while now.  Thanks a lot, MSN.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:24 PM | |

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Launder At Your Own Risk

Listen, I'm not THAT bad at doing laundry. I mean, so we've got that big stack of women's sweaters, size large 6x. It wasn't my fault. If you don't want it thrown into the dryer, do it yourself.

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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:55 PM | |

Monday, May 08, 2006

Maybe Just A Tiny Little Addiction, Barely Noticeable and I Can Quit Any Time. But I Don't Want To.

First of all, I am NOT obsessed with or addicted to MASH. It's true that it was the last program I ever watched faithfully. It's also true that since February 28, 1983, there has been no program I was interested enough in to watch even twice in a row. I haven't kept track or anything, though.

I do own all the dvd's of MASH. I pre-order them from Amazon so I'll get them the moment they're released for sale. Lots of people do that. It's not obsession.

Several times a year I will watch every one of the dvd's in some kind of order, usually consecutive. Right now I am watching them in reverse order, but what's so obsessive about that?

There are many episodes that I know by heart. Big deal. In our family, we often memorize things we especially like. When the kids were little, we memorized a rock opera or musical every summer, while riding in the car. Doesn't everybody? My kids knew every word and piece of stage business in the librettos of 'Cats,' 'Evita,' 'Phantom of the Opera,' 'Into The Woods,' 'Les Miserables,' 'Miss Saigon,' 'Aspects of Love,' 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,' 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' 'Godspell,' 'Sweeney Todd,' ' Kismet,' 'Peter Pan,' 'Oklahoma,' 'Carousel,' and others, before they were in junior high. I am a firm believer in Arthur Shopenhauer's quotation "Not to go to the theatre is like making one's toilet without a mirror." I still am, even though we are no longer able to go many places or do many things. They all cost money, imagine. Party poopers.

We also did the Comedian Harmonists up right and proper in the car. The Overture to The Barber of Seveille remains our favorite. The King's Singers had nothing on us.

Ahem. We were discussing MASH.

Some shows are ruined when a cast member bolts or is replaced. Not MASH. Every character was a gem. I actually liked Colonel Potter more than I liked Henry Blake. And I LOVED Major Winchester. Yes, like that. Ok, ok, triple ick. But I could have changed him, I just know it.

Most long-running shows eventually jump the shark. Not MASH. It just got better and better.

Remember those few episodes that featured Captain Spalding playing his guitar and summing up the plot with a song? Do you know who that WAS? That was Louden Wainwright III, cool seventies singer and father of Rufus Wainwright. The show featured lots of new actors who later hit it big. Not as many as The Twilight Zone, of course, but a lot. Patrick Swayze. Ron Howard. John Ritter. Lawrence Fishburne. Andrew Dice Clay. Blythe Danner. Joan Van Ark. Linda Kelsey. Leslie Nielson. Shelly Long. Mary Kay Place. More. I really can't remember. I don't pay that much attention.

I don't really keep track of MASH trivia. Things like Col. Blake's wife's name changing, or Col. Potter's age changing, or Hawkeye's having a sister for a few episodes and then suddenly becoming an only child, or Radar having a deformed left hand so he's always holding something or standing with his hand hidden somehow, are unimportant and I don't even think about them.
I don't get mad at the writers for thinking we viewers won't notice. However, we do. Take heed.

I don't want to see another reunion special. I don't like to think of these actors looking different. I know they do; I saw Alan Alda in "What Women Want" and I'm still traumatized. But I don't want to see their MASH characters looking old. Sometimes reunions are fun, and sometimes they're horrible. I mean, think of Mary Travers. I adore her but I can't look.

Okay, now I'm going back to the kitchen to finish the episode I started an hour or so ago. Major Winchester has just found out that he's staying, and I can't wait to see his reaction.


Radar's teddy bear is in the Smithsonian but you didn't hear it from me, because I don't pay attention to details like that.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:20 PM | |

Joanne Jacobs, et al

Joanne Jacobs will be speaking and signing books on Thursday, May 11 at 5:30 pm at William E. Doar Jr. (WEDJ) Public Charter School for the Performing Arts, 705 Edgewood St. NE, Washington, DC (near the Rhode Island and Brookland-CUA metro stops). Then, on Wednesday, May 17 at 5:30 pm, she'll be speaking at Russell Byers Charter School, 1911 Arch St., in downtown Philadelphia. If you're in the area, stop by and experience Joanne. When it comes to education, she knows her stuff.

If the people next door would pick up all the toys from their lawn, I would go over there and mow it for them. I know their mower is not working right now, but I don't want to be responsible for relocating property. I can not find anything in "The Handbook of Social Correspondence" about telling the neighbors you'll mow their lawn if they'll first get all those toys out of it. (I didn't really look it up in a book.) (It's probably not there anyway.) (In which case, what good is it?) (I don't need a book that tells me which fork to use or how to bend my pinky when lifting a demitasse cup.) (I need a book that tells me how to ask my neighbors to pick up all those damn toys so I can mow their lawn for them.) (I learned about forks from "Pretty Woman.") (And some other useful things, too.) (None of your business.)

Tomorrow the Honda has an appointment for regular maintenance. The car goes to the doctor more than any of us. I will turn in my final exams and post my grades while I'm waiting for the Honda Doctor to keep my baby running.

Then I will take my son to lunch. Got to keep all my babies running.

Then I will kill some more time, and meet my friend Frau for an early supper, to which I will also invite my daughter. Frau was her favorite teacher of all time. This, if Frau's car is running.

Running, running, running. Keep the cars running. Keep the mowers running. Keep the kids running.

It's enough to give a person the trots. Speaking of running. . . . .
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:32 AM | |

Sunday, May 07, 2006


It occurred to me, as I was driving down the highway this afternoon, looking at and reading all the billboards and signs, that if your name is Wiener and you run a daycare center, it might not be a very good idea to name it after yourself.  I'd also watch the little cartoon illustrations on my huge sign a little more carefully.
I mean, really.
People around here are used to seeing the big 'wiener' signs, but one of these days, an out-of-towner is going to have a wreck.
Putting your partner's name on the sign doesn't help.  It just makes people scratch their heads (so to speak) and wonder what in the world a 'Webb Wiener' could be.
If you know, please don't tell me.  Thankyouverymuch.
You know you live in a small town when the majority of people associate 'wieners' with daycare.  A darn good daycare at that.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:35 PM | |


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